The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) says the Akufo-Addo government performed “below average” in 2017 largely due to cronyism, nepotism, corruption, mismanagement and outright incompetence.
It claimed that the Akufo-Addo government which took over the governance of the country on January 7, 2017 “mastered the art of stealing legally from government coffers”.
According to the PPP, corruption allegations against the government and its officials were “swept under the carpet” without proper investigations and proper accountability.
In its assessment of the Akufo-Addo government in 2017, the PPP held the current government just as the previous ones Ghana has had since 1993, cannot develop the country as they are clueless about how to do that.
The PPP said the government is repeating the mistakes of the John Mahama administration, indicating “Promises made to Ghanaians during the 2016 electioneering campaign by the NPP have, upon assumption of office, been postponed, adjusted, and in most cases completely reneged upon. Not a single promise has been honoured in its entirety as at the end of 2017”.
It has thus urged Ghanaians to be awake, read between the lines and make the right choices in the next elections.
In its view, inflation of government contracts are worse off than that of previous regimes, adding ethnocentric comments and partisan bigotry are still rife with impunity among public officials.
A statement issued and signed by the General Secretary of the PPP, Murtala Mohammed underscored the need for the Akufo-Addo-led NPP Government to tackle the liquidity problem in the country.
That, the PPP said would make living in Ghana easy for the average Ghanaian” as times are harder nowadays”.
“Government must translate the so-called economic gains from our oil discovery into the pockets of poor Ghanaians.
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu has bemoaned the indiscriminate sale of state lands to private individuals at prices cheaper than the cost of anchovies, popularly known as Keta School Boys on the market.
Recently, there were concerns over the decision of the Volta Regional Lands Commission to lease strategic government lands to private individuals in what the commission claimed was an in-filling exercise.
The situation, the Minister said, denies government installations that are yet to begin operation in the region space to operate.
“Over the last 8 years, Volta Region has faced a lot of difficulties over the land titles administrations, lands were sold so cheaply to the extent that, the prices of “Keta School Boys” far exceeds the cost of lands that have been sold to others. Hence the rational of aggressive disposal of government lands for private political interest can no longer be allowed to continue”
Speaking at the inauguration of the Volta Regional Lands Commission in Ho, Peter Amewu charged the 30 member Commission to fend off such temptation and put in measures to resolve protracted land disputes in the region to stimulate development.
The Commission is chaired by Mama Dzidoasi of Gbi Abansi Traditional Area in the Hohoe Municipality.
In her acceptance speech, the chairperson expressed her gratitude for the appointment and pledged her commitment to ensuring effective land administration in the region.
The Commission is made up of representatives from various statutory bodies including the Regional House of Chiefs, Ghana Bar Association, Town and Country Planning Department, Ghana Institute of Surveyors and Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen.
By: King Nobert Akpablie/citifmonline.com/Ghana
The Chief Imam, Sheik Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, has called on government to address the high unemployment rate in the country.
According to him, the current levels of unemployment in the country are worrying, and must be dealt with swiftly in 2018.
Speaking to Citi News, Spokesperson for the Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, also asked the government to prioritize the implementation of policies that will provide job opportunities for all.
“Unemployment is an issue and young people who are growing would have to have hope. When they go to school, they want to return and also do something for themselves so we want a situation where policy will be directed towards ensuring that greater opportunity is created.”.
The Christian Council of Ghana in its new year’s message also called on the government to prioritize the development of the youth by investing in them.
The General Secretary of the Council, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni Frimpong, who made the call said:“One area that attention must be given to is the development of our young people. Ghanaian young people are not lazy. They are determined, they want to work, but we must be a country that gives hope and opportunities to our young people and it should not be hope outside us, it must be hope within and those who have resources to invest, must invest in this country for young people to get employment.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently said that the government has put structures in place to ensure that the country’s unemployment challenges are addressed.
According to Nana Addo, despite inheriting an economy in dire straits, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has worked assiduously towards ensuring that job opportunities are created for Ghanaians.
“We’ve had important challenges; Invincible and Delta Forces and the tensions at the grassroots of the party over jobs. I appreciate very much the anxiety over jobs. What I’m saying is that, the foundation has been laid for jobs. It has not been easy because we inherited a bankrupt economy, but because of the ingenuity of the people I’m working with, we’ve been able to lay a good foundation,” the President said in December.
Unemployment rate doubles in two years
Ghana’s unemployment rate stood at 11.9 percent in 2015, according to a report from the Ghana Labour Force Survey Report by the Ghana Statistical Service.
This was about twice the figure recorded in 2012/2013 (5.8%) based on the Statistical services strict definition of unemployment – where “one was not working, actively looking for a job and available for work.”
However, the definition changed for the 2015 studies which was based on a relaxed definition where “one was available for work and not working within the last seven days before an interview.”
The report, which is the first of its kind and most detailed, was designed to guide government’s plan in resolving the alarming rate of unemployment in the country.
‘Ghana’s biggest problem’
A survey conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs, (IEA) also identified unemployment as the foremost problem confronting the majority of Ghanaians today.
According to the survey, urban dwellers, females, and the majority of people living in the Western, Eastern and Central regions, identified unemployment as their biggest problem in Ghana.
The survey, conducted between November and December, 2015, sampled 1,500 respondents from across the ten regions of Ghana, who were 18 years of age, and above.
By: Marian Ansah & Bobbie Osei/citifmonline.com/Ghana
Moses Abor for NPP youth organiser
The constituency youth organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ayawaso Central, Mr. Moses Abor, has declared his intention to contest for the position of Greater Accra Regional youth organiser of the ruling party.
Speaking at a mini-rally in Accra, Mr. Abor called on all the NPP fraternity not to wait until the 2020 general elections before campaigning. “We don’t wait in politics because the next general elections are just around the corner, we should all start campaigning for the party we all love”.
Mr. Abor, who has been appointed by the Accra Metropolitan Authority to head the busy hub of Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, appealed to the youth to continue to show the zeal and enthusiasm that brought the party to power.
He stressed that his work records are there for Ghanaians to admire, from his time as the Assembly Member for the Mallata electoral area and as the constituency youth organiser of the NPP.
“I initiated various programs as an Assembly Member to create awareness and encourage the people to be clean and ensure that sanitation is not taken for granted” he said.
Nick-named Junior IC Quaye, due to commonalities with the former Greater Accra Regional minister during the administration of President JA Kufour, he urged the party’s faithful and the public to respect the appointments of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. “We believe in him and his works that is why we voted for him, same as the ministers he has appointed” he added.
In another development, the Kayayei representative in Accra, Haruna Galadima, has lauded Mr. Moses Abor as their (Kayayei) protector in Accra against unscrupulous men who want to take advantage of them, especially at the Malata Market.
He revealed that Moses has participated in many outreach programs with non-governmental organisations for the future and welfare of the Kayayeis at the market.
Multi-lingual Abor speaks Gurunee (Frafra), Ga, Hausa, Twi, Ewe and Dagbani, which makes him favourite among the contestant in addition to his popularity.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government will officially mark the first year of its administration on 7th January, 2017, after wrestling power from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government led by John Dramani Mahama.
The party claimed electoral victory on the back of many campaign promises aimed at boosting social infrastructure and providing a convenient economic environment for private businesses to thrive.
According to the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the NPP was poised to ensure good governance, by eroding the foundation of gross corruption laid by John Mahama and the NDC government.
His statement was in reference to the many controversies, often with a dent of corruption, that had engulfed the erstwhile government.
After almost 12 months in office, the NPP government has also been caught in various controversies which seem to have made the party unpopular in some circles.
President Akufo-Addo and his handlers were caught in a controversial act of plagiarism in his inaugural speech.
The speech, although widely commended, was found to have excerpts of it copied directly from Thomas Woodrow Wilson, an American politician, and academician who served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921.
Wilson, in a 1913 speech said, “We are bound by ideals that teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these ideals. Every citizen must uphold them…. I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators. Citizens, not subjects. Responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character.”
The phrase, which was repeated by George Bush in 2001, was included in Akufo-Addo’s inaugural address without reference to the original author.
It read, “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building your communities and our nation. Let us work until the work is done. Holy Scripture in Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
The incident, which caught the eye of international media gave the NDC minority in parliament the grounds to demand a withdrawal of the address.
The Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi, who led the charge, asked the NPP to withdraw the “plagiarized address” and resubmit another speech which will reflect all “attributable sources.”
“The sanctity of Parliament must be respected and preserved, and it is our expectation that the new Speaker of Parliament The Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye who thankfully is an academic of some repute, will better appreciate the full ramifications of what is before us,” it said in an address.
110 competent ministers:
Not long after the gaffe, the government again found itself in an uncomfortable position as it was subjected to criticism from various quarters including some Civil Society Organization over the appointment of 110 Ministers of State including deputies.
Following the appointment, President Akufo-Addo became the first head of state in the 4th Republic to have more than a hundred (100) ministers serve in his government.
He beat his predecessor, John Mahama by about 26 ministers.
While the government was accused of creating an opportunity to fleece the state, the Presidency said the appointment of the ministers was necessary to revamp the economy which had been supposedly collapsed by the John Mahama government.
Founders’ day vs. Founder’s day:
President Nana Akufo-Addo, whose political history stems from the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), formed on August 4, 1947 to bring about Ghanaian independence, stirred controversy when in his presidential inauguration address he suggested that members of the UGCC including his father Edward Akudo-Addo and uncle, J.B Danquah, were the main brains behind Ghana’s independence.
Many, including the Chairman of the CPP, Prof. Edmund Delle, accused him of distorting the country’s history to lessen the role of Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana’s attainment of independence, but members of the NPP argued that the achievements of the Kwame Nkrumah was only because of the exposure and support he had received from the UGCC before he broke away to establish his Convention People’s Party (CPP).
The government subsequently canceled the former government’s decision to celebrate September 21; Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday as Founder’s Day, and rather set August 4, as founders’ day to recognize all who helped Ghana to attain independence.
The proposal is to be backed by law to take effect.
Corruption ‘Boakye-Agyarko bribe’:
The then Minister for Energy nominee, Boakye Agyarko, became the center of what appears to be the most interesting and complex corruption scandal in the first quarter of 2017, when the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, alleged that Mr. Agyarko had bribed members of Parliament’s appointments committee GH¢ 3,000 each to unanimously approve him after his vetting.
The allegation which was backed by the Member of Parliament North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, and MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, led to a probe by a special committee set up by Parliament.
The committee, which was headed by MP for Essikado-Ketan, Joe Ghartey, ruled that Mahama Ayariga’s claims were baseless, and he was subsequently ordered to apologize, which was done, although many claimed he did it reluctantly.
BOST’s sale of contaminated fuel:
In June 2017, it emerged that the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) sold about 5 million liters of contaminated fuel to some unlicensed companies; Movepiina and Zup Oil, causing the state to lose GH¢7 million
The development sparked outrage from Ghanaians including stakeholders such as the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, and the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), who condemned the action, alleging that it was an illegal trend that needed to be arrested.
The Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, however at a press conference cleared the Managing Director of BOST, Alfred Obeng Boateng of wrongdoing citing a Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), and National Security report.
Corrupt deputy Chiefs of Staff:
Controversial musicians and sympathizer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Asare Obeng, popularly known as A-Plus, took to Facebook to accuse President Akufo-Addo’s two Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Francis Asenso-Boakye, and Abu Jinapor of being corrupt.
He also described them as thieves who are arrogant.
Although he did not state their exact action that warranted the accusations, his comment generated a lot buzz especially from loyalists of the party, some of whom chided A-Plus for the comment.
Francis Asenso-Boakye subsequently rejected the claims describing them as false.
After receiving a lot of backlashes from the public including some members of the government, A-Plus apologized to the President for his actions, admitting that he used the wrong platform to voice out his concerns.
President Akufo-Addo subsequently ordered the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to conduct an investigation into the matter.
The department, after its investigations, said it found A-Plus’ claims to be baseless, but A-Plus in a subsequent media interaction expressed his disagreement with the report.
A leaked audio tape later emerged with a conversation between A-Plus and a senior CID officer in which the officer supposedly indicated to A-Plus that the report was skewed to favour the government officials.
The CID officer in the tape, who was then Deputy Director of the CID, ACP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, later claimed that the tape was doctored, adding that A-Plus had threatened to blackmail her with it.
After receiving a petition to investigate the matter, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), exonerated the two deputy Chiefs of Staff of any corrupt act, ending the several weeks long controversy.
Diversion of premix fuel:
In November 2017, Citi News revealed at least over 230 cases of premix fuel diversions that had been cited by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), since January 2017 to October, at a time when fisher-folks were complaining about inaccessibility to premix fuel, subsequently leading to a decline in the nation’s fish stock.
The Ministry of Energy, in May 2017, subsequently ordered the Fisheries Ministry to probe the companies alleged to be complicit in the fuel diversion, but that did not happen.
When quizzed on her role in the scandal by Citi News, the Fisheries Minister, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, said the NPA was in a better position to act on the widespread diversion of premix fuel, because her Ministry did not have a tracking system to identify culprits.
Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, also defended her decision to appoint her brother as the Acting Administrator of the National Premix Secretariat, saying he was competent enough and has since left the position, and replaced by a substantive appointee.
Both the NPA and the Energy Ministry, had avoided commentary on the matter. However, after a joint meeting with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and the National Premix Fuel Committee, the stakeholders agreed to among other things ensure that the premix fuel committee ceases supply to some Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) found to be complicit in the diversion of premix fuel, and more effective collaboration between them to avert such incidents from happening in the future.
Extortion of expatriates:
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, alleged in Parliament in December 2017 that the Trade Ministry charged expatriates between $25,000 and $100,000, to book a seat at the recent Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) which had President Akufo-Addo in attendance.
According to him, the monies were not approved by Parliament, adding that the monies were also not accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds [IGF] of the Ministry’s accounts.
The issue has further been reinforced by Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Okudzeto Ablakwa, who suffered verbal assaults from Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah over the matter.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry dissociated itself from the allegations. In a statement, it said it played no role in determining prices for seats at the event, and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation.
Amidst the brouhaha, the President, Nana Akufo-Addo said he found the allegations against the Ministry to be baseless following a query to the Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten, demanding answers from him over the allegations.
A statement from the government said “the facts, as reported to the President, do not disclose any wrongdoing on the part of the Minister of any government official.”
The Minority in Parliament last week called for an urgent Parliamentary meeting over the matter although the House was on recess.
The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye subsequently granted the request and has since called for an emergency sitting on Friday 5th January, 2018 although the Parliamentarians were originally expected to resume sitting at the end of January.
GH¢800,000 budget for website:
Again, in December 2017, it emerged that the Ministry for Special Development and Initiatives had budgeted GH¢800,000 of taxpayers’ money to build a new website.
The amount, although heavily criticized by the minority in Parliament, was approved by Parliament since the NPP has the majority in the House.
Many Ghanaians criticized the government and the sector minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson for the budget which many said was a recipe for corruption.
Mavis Hawa Koomson, in a surprising U-turn, claimed that the GH¢800,000 was a typographical error and that the actual amount was GH¢80,000.
The Minority made calls for her to resign over the matter because it was a sign of “incompetence.”
The Minister however in a subsequent defense said the amount was for the creation of different websites for the new development authorities; Northern Development Authority, Coastal Development Authority, and the Middle Belt Development Authority.
She added that, the GH¢ 1.1 billion total allocations to the Ministry for the important projects such as purchasing of vehicles to facilitate the work of the new development authorities.
Security Delta Force on rampage:
A major dent on the NPP government’s administration in 2017 was the heightened acts of impunity and lawlessness perpetrated by individuals and groups most of whom are affiliated with the government.
Following the election of Akufo-Addo as president, there were several instances of the forceful takeover of some state assets and facilities including some public toilets from the managers perceived to be affiliated to the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
The development assumed the height of national concern and controversy when a vigilante group, Delta Force, affiliated to the NPP, attacked the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator at his office in broad day light.
They said he was not actively involved in the party’s electioneering campaign hence must not be “rewarded” for the appointment.
While standing trial in court, another set of members of the vigilante group stormed the court premises and freed their colleagues, causing fear, panic, and chaos in the courtroom.
The case ended with the first group of suspects being set free after payment of a GH¢1,800 per head fine, heavily criticized by some lawyers as “paltry” and not deterrent enough.
Those who set the suspects free from court, were set free for supposed lack of evidence, an incident that got many angry.
Karaga NPP youth on rampage:
Many believe the precedent set by the Delta Force group and the subsequent punitive measure meted out to them, encouraged a similar incident in Karaga in the Northern Region where some NPP youth, stormed a police station to set arrested suspects free.
President of policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe has said about GHc300 million of taxpayers’ money would have been saved if President Akufo-Addo had not created the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives.
“The Ministry for Special Development Initiatives should not have existed in the first place. We could have saved GhC300 million of that budget if we had allowed the other ministries to do the things in the budget,” he argued.
Although government has since attempted to clarify that the GHc800,000 for website was a typographical error, many believe it was an attempt to fleece the national coffers.
Speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday, Franklin Cudjoe said most of the projects the embattled ministry is requesting funds for are the work of other ministries and hence, it should not have been created in the first place.
“If you look at the expenditure of this ministry, it seems to be the amalgamation of other ministries,” said.
The December 22 edition of The Big Issue saw members of the panel review President Akufo-Addo’s first year in office.
The first year of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has been rocked by a number of corruption allegations including the BOST contaminated fuel scandal, allegations of corruption by A-Plus against the two deputy chiefs of staff, allegations of conflict of interest against the Finance Minister over the issuance of a Bond, and recently the allocation of GHc800,000 for the creation of a website for the Special Development Ministry.
Franklin Cudjoe used the opportunity to advice President Akufo-Addo to be wary of the corruption allegations that have rocked his administration saying they are likely to sink him.
“There is a perception of people that may eventually sink the administration if they don’t take care. That has been the trajectory in the past. One year of Akufo-Addo’s administration, the macroeconomic indicators look good…but I think if they don’t take care, these allegations of corruption, most of which are emanating from their own camp will be the ones that will sink them,” he added.
Embattled Special Dev’t Ministry engages Zoomlion to distribute recycling machines
In another development, it has emerged that the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives has entered into a contract with the Zoomlion Ghana Limited to distribute plastic recycling machines to some districts in the country.
A letter signed by the sector minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson and sighted by citifmonline.com indicated that District Chief Executives (DCEs) in areas selected to benefit from the program were to allocate land areas for the project.
“The Ministry of Special Development Initiatives, in order to realize the Government’s vision to transform rural and urban communities, identified sanitation as one of its priority areas. This aims at instituting proper sanitation and waste management system, which will improve health and the general living standards of the people,” it said.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana
A 21-year-old head potter (Kayayei), Bushira Mamudu, has become the latest victim of hate crime constantly suffered by disadvantaged girls who migrate to urban centers to engage in menial jobs to support their families.
An unidentified lady is suspected to have hit the skull of Bushira with a sharp instrument after a misunderstanding ensued between the two at a shelter for disadvantaged girls in Mamobi, Accra.
Witnessed revealed that the middle aged suspect quickly bolted away after inflicting the life threatening wound on poor Bushira.
A native of Gambaga in the Northern Region and mother of one, Bushira, who was putting up at a shelter for Kayayeis provided by the Pamela Bridgewater Project, was quickly rushed to the Mamobi Polyclinic, where a team of medics led by Dr. Prince Daitey administered prompt treatment to stop blood gushing from her punctured skull.
The founder of Kunata Voluntary Organisation (KVO), the NGO that operates the Bridgewater Project, Mr. Yahaya Ahassan, who rushed the victim to the Mamobi Polyclinic, revealed that there is a growing trend of physical and verbal abuses meted out to head potters.
Speaking in an interview, he said that insults directed at the vulnerable Kayayeis on daily basis are becoming rampant and are unacceptable.
He said that the continue attacks and beatings of these vulnerable girls who represent the disadvantaged segment of our populace is a big concern and “an indictment on Ghanaians as a people who uphold the tenants of human rights”.
He pointed out that the constitution explicitly guarantees the rights of every Ghanaian, and this obviously include Kayayeis, to stay and work in any part of the country they so wish without let or hindrance.
Mr. Alhassan described the treatment of Kayayeis who migrate from the northern parts of Ghana to the south in search of jobs, as the country’s version of xenophobia. According to him Accra and Kumasi have been the home of all manner of people and he asked rhetorically that how many people can say that their family have not migrated from one location to another.
He revealed that the Pamela Bridgewater Projects regularly undertakes outreach programs to educate the girls on how to prevent or report abuses meted out to them, however, there should be more programs on a national scale to sensitize the Kayayeis.
The Pamela Bridgewater Project provides future and welfare to Kayayeis in Ghana through training, advocacy, protection and research.
Pic;Hajia Hawa Haruna,Organizer for the Arise for Ghana.
NPP Group lauds Hon. Ayorkor Botchway for exemplary leadership
A political group sympathetic to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Anyaa Sowotoum constituency in the Greater Accra has lauded the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, for being a worthy diplomat for the country.
Members of Arise for Ghana (AG) think that the Hon Ayorkor Botchway has within a short span of time rendered her services as the country’s number one diplomat creditably and has brought international respect to Ghana.
The organizer of the group. Hajia Hawa Haruna, speaking in an interview said the minister has proven that women are up to the task in delivery quality leadership and services in whatever capacity they find themselves in.
“Our honourable minister has so far made us very proud and we the youth from the Anyaa Sowotoum constituency are proud to recognize her as our role model and we will continue to aspire to walk in her footsteps” she said.
Hajia Hawa noted that the performance of Hon Ayorkor Botchway is a call on the president to appoint more women to positions of responsibility in the public sector to help in the development of the country.
“Hon and other hardworking women have proven beyound all reasonable doubt that women are up to the task and for this reason we appeal to our father, President Nana Akufo-Addo, to appoint more women in his administration”.
“He who pays homage to the great paves the way for his own greatness”– Chinua Achebe